“In 5 years, will we be able to take off from France and be in New York in less than an hour?” “Yes”, RTL firmly answers Gwynne Shotwell, the president of Space X, who will visit France on September 12, 2022.
At more than 27,000 km/h, for example, the rocket would connect Paris with New York in about thirty minutes. Los Angeles to Shanghai in 36 minutes or Sydney to Zurich in 50 minutes.
The American company is counting on its rocket to make these intercontinental flights in record time. “It is really an opportunity for our Starship rocket. At the moment we are focusing on the moon, Mars, but also on flights from one point to another on Earth, the manager explains to RTL.
Technically, Space X does not target airports to take off with its rocket. This is obviously impossible as it seems. It will therefore not be possible to depart from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport to fly to John Fitzgerald Kennedy airport in New York.
The company wants to start its first flights from platforms at sea, but it shouldn’t be long. “Once this technology has matured, we will be able to safely consider shooting and landing pads on dry land,” explains Gwynne Shotwell. In 2020, Space X had already envisioned this possibility of intercontinental flights, but without giving a precise date.
Regarding the feasibility of these flights, the president of Space X’s activities does not see any major disadvantages. “I’ve been with Space X for 20 years. I’ve seen this company start with a few engineers. Then employees built rockets, then they flew astronauts, then they delivered hardware to the International Space Station, and then we flew private astronauts for the first time . We really did a lot of interesting things”, explains the manager.
The price of the ticket remains a mystery for now. It also remains to be known the acceptability of such flights for a handful of people around the world. Other unknowns also remain on the first flight within 5 years, when we know that much less ambitious projects such as the Volocopter taxis will only be able to take off (for demonstration flights) for the 2024 Paris Olympics, while they have been developed for more than 7 year. But the two companies may not play in the same category either…
As for the comfort of the few hundred passengers foreseen per flight, “we do everything we can to make these flights as smooth as possible”, concludes Gwynne Shotwell confidently.